I happen to be a member of the NTEN Data Standards and Integration group. It’s a group dedicated to advocating for open APIs and open standards for non-profit application. Blackbaud’s Raiser Edge is always used as THE example of the application that never wants to share or give away it’s data. Generally speaking, you have to pay through the nose to access your data once it’s passed the event horizon of Raiser’s Edge. Yet, Raiser’s Edge is still one of the most widely adopted applications in our sector.
Take a look at http://messages.finance.yahoo.com/Technology/Software_and_Programming/threadview?m=tm&bn=25192&tid=1769&mid=1774&tof=37&rt=2&frt=2&off=1, specifically at this portion of the post:
Blackbaud is clearly the leader in software serving the non-profit industry; however, their immature online solutions, messy spaghetti code, overly-complicated relational data structure and legacy client-server installed application requirements are holding them back from dominating the market. By not embracing the SaaS model and demonstrating leadership online, they’ve left the door open for Kintera, Convio and GetActive to develop solid ASP businesses and carve out a comfortable slice of the industry pie.
Well guess what? Blackbaud is going to answer those criticisms and it’s coming next year.
I’m hearing that Blackbaud has a semi-secret project that will blow the lid off the competition in terms of its online and offline accessibility and in its forthright approach in dealing with the above criticisms. They’ve taken the Green Eggs and Ham approach, you’ll be able to have Raiser’s Edge in a box, with a fox, in the house and with a mouse. Imagine a non-profit ERP that will not only compete with the Convios and Kinteras of this world but also be able to stave off any inroads by SAP and Oracle into our sector. Now imagine that with an open API. Now add on open source… yeah, I know. It’s probably a managed open source solution a la Citysoft so customers can see the code but it wouldn’t be under a GPL. Look out for it though. It’s going to be a heck of a ride if even half the rumors are true.
It’s sized for only Blackbaud’s biggest customers but sooner or later, the smaller Blackbaud customers will receive the trickle down benefits as the next RE releases come out.